Dereham History & Bishop Bonner's Cottage Museum

Dereham History & Bishop Bonner's Cottage Museum Dereham History, Norfolk, Uk. This site is run by the Dereham Heritage Trust, formerly the Dereham Antiquarian Society, who manages Bishop Bonner’s Cottage Museum, next to the parish church.
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From academic beginnings in 1953, the Dereham Antiquarian Society is now a friendly group of people who have a shared interest in the history of Dereham and the surrounding areas. Society members act as volunteer stewards in the Museum and manage the archive collection. Registered Educational Charity (No.293648) The Society incorporates the Cowper Society of Dereham. There is traditionally a William Cowper evening, around the anniversary of the poet’s death on 25th April 1800. The Arcadian Club, which studies the life and works of the local antiquarian Dr Augustus Jessopp, has also been incorporated into the Dereham Antiquarian Society.

Operating as usual

Our next online local history talk is ready to view now and there will be a live question time on Wednesday 9th June ple...
26/05/2021

Our next online local history talk is ready to view now and there will be a live question time on Wednesday 9th June please see the details of how to view it and attend the question time by clicking on the poster below for the contact email:-

Our next online local history talk is ready to view now and there will be a live question time on Wednesday 9th June please see the details of how to view it and attend the question time by clicking on the poster below for the contact email:-

War hero who carried comrade from 'field of death' remembered
23/05/2021
War hero who carried comrade from 'field of death' remembered

War hero who carried comrade from 'field of death' remembered

Norfolk war hero William O'Callaghan, who carried his injured comrade to safety in the aftermath of the Le Paradis Massacre, was commemorated on Sunday morning at a service.

Our next online talk is ready to view now and there will be a live question time on Wednesday 12th May please see the de...
05/05/2021

Our next online talk is ready to view now and there will be a live question time on Wednesday 12th May please see the details of how to view it and attend the question time by clicking on the poster below:-

Our next online talk is ready to view now and there will be a live question time on Wednesday 12th May please see the details of how to view it and attend the question time by clicking on the poster below:-

Flying Scotsman visit to Mid Norfolk Railway confirmed
05/05/2021
Flying Scotsman visit to Mid Norfolk Railway confirmed

Flying Scotsman visit to Mid Norfolk Railway confirmed

The world-famous steam engine Flying Scotsman will still be visiting the Mid-Norfolk Railway for the first time, despite covid getting in the way of the way of the original dates.

Our next online talk is this coming Wednesday 14th April please see the details of how to attend on the poster below
11/04/2021

Our next online talk is this coming Wednesday 14th April please see the details of how to attend on the poster below

Our next online talk is this coming Wednesday 14th April please see the details of how to attend on the poster below

Three hundred years ago a Norfolk man Sir Robert Walpole was Britain’s first prime minister  https://blog.nationalarchiv...
05/04/2021
Sir Robert Walpole: Britain’s first Prime Minister - The National Archives blog

Three hundred years ago a Norfolk man Sir Robert Walpole was Britain’s first prime minister
https://blog.nationalarchives.gov.uk/sir-robert-walpole-britains-first-prime-minister/?fbclid=IwAR20nvvYh9bDCPb7ZVRICrc3FXADisFj8ejKOyGtdFCl1VMmFoKLzIMFdiQ#.YGX0E6LjJcY.facebook

On 3 April 1721, Sir Robert Walpole (1676-1745) became the First Lord of the Treasury and, in effect, Britain’s first Prime Minister. He remains the longest holder of this office, serving 21 years, and left a lasting impression on the role he helped to shape and secure to the British constitution....

Explore our website for information on Dereham’s history this page looks at our own museum building Bishop Bonner’s Cott...
31/03/2021
Building History

Explore our website for information on Dereham’s history this page looks at our own museum building Bishop Bonner’s Cottage http://www.derehamhistory.com/building-history.html

The three cottages, which house the Dereham Town Museum make up, the oldest surviving domestic building in Dereham. The row of cottages survived the great town fire of 1581 then again in 1679...

10 March 2021: Digging Sedgeford: 25 Years of Archaeological Research in a Typical Norfolk ParishA talk by Gary Rossin. ...
04/03/2021

10 March 2021: Digging Sedgeford: 25 Years of Archaeological Research in a Typical Norfolk Parish
A talk by Gary Rossin. 7.30 on-line see details below.

The Sedgeford Historical & Archaeological Research Project (SHARP) was formed in 1996 and is now one of the country's longest-running archaeological projects. Over the past 25 years, SHARP has been excavating and researching all aspects of human settlement activity within the parish; from a Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age burial through to a First World War aerodrome. The main focus of the project has been an Anglo-Saxon settlement and associated cemetery, to which we can now add the exciting discovery of a complex of Anglo-Saxon malting houses.

The event will take place online from 7.30pm.

Tickets are £3 for those non-members of Dereham Heritage Trust and can be obtained by contacting Ken Hawkins on [email protected].

10 March 2021: Digging Sedgeford: 25 Years of Archaeological Research in a Typical Norfolk Parish
A talk by Gary Rossin. 7.30 on-line see details below.

The Sedgeford Historical & Archaeological Research Project (SHARP) was formed in 1996 and is now one of the country's longest-running archaeological projects. Over the past 25 years, SHARP has been excavating and researching all aspects of human settlement activity within the parish; from a Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age burial through to a First World War aerodrome. The main focus of the project has been an Anglo-Saxon settlement and associated cemetery, to which we can now add the exciting discovery of a complex of Anglo-Saxon malting houses.

The event will take place online from 7.30pm.

Tickets are £3 for those non-members of Dereham Heritage Trust and can be obtained by contacting Ken Hawkins on [email protected].

This wonderful atmospheric photograph was sent to us today by Brett King, thank you for sharing it with us.
03/03/2021

This wonderful atmospheric photograph was sent to us today by Brett King, thank you for sharing it with us.

An image I took last Sunday :)

Here's a different Valentine, from 544 years ago.  In the summer we plan to have a display at the Museum on John and Ell...
13/02/2021
Valentine's day love letter

Here's a different Valentine, from 544 years ago. In the summer we plan to have a display at the Museum on John and Ellenor Fenn. John's great work was to transcribe and publish the letters of the Paston family, mostly from the 1400s, working away in Hill House, at the top of Dereham Market Place. Most of them display the violence of the times of the Wars of the Roses, when the strong try to take what they can by force, and when marriages are arranged for young gentry, often with regard only for money, and not for the feelings of the couple, especially of the woman. And in the middle of all this is this letter of true love, from Margery Brews to her John Paston, for Valentine's Day, 1477. This is a loose translation from the Middle English.
Right reverent and worshipful, and my right well-beloved Valentine, I commend myself to you, full heartily desiring to hear of your welfare, which I beseech Almighty God long to preserve for his pleasure, and your heart’s desire. And if it please you to hear of my welfare, I am not in good hale of body or of heart , nor shall be till I hear from you.
For no creature knows what pain I endure
and I would rather die than have it known.
And my lady my mother has worked full diligently on the matter to my father, but she can make no progress beyond what you know of, for which God knows I am full sorry. But if you love me, as I trust truly that you do, you will not forsake me for it, for if your income were halved, and I had to do the greatest labour that any woman alive might, I would not forsake you.
And if you command me to stay true wherever I go,
I promise I will use all my might to love you for ever.
And if my friends say that I do amiss
They shall not stop me doing this.
My heart bids me evermore to love you
Truly over every earthly thing.
And if things be ever so bad
I trust it shall be better in coming times.
No more to you at this time, but the Holy Trinity have you in keeping. And I beseech you that this note be seen of no earthly creature, save only yourself.
And this letter was written at Topcroft, with full heavy heart.
By your own, Margery Brews.
Margery's mother did prevail upon her father, presumably to increase the dowry so John's family would consent, and the couple were married in late summer. John kept the letter, and contrary to Margery's wish many thousands of earthly creatures have seen it since. More of all this in the Museum in the summer!
The original letter is with the hundreds of others in the British Library, and the image comes from their website
http://www.bl.uk/learning/timeline/large126579.html

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Dereham heritage trust is looking for space to store some of their larger items - including the town’s original 1954 sig...
04/02/2021
Heritage trust seeks space for town’s original sign

Dereham heritage trust is looking for space to store some of their larger items - including the town’s original 1954 sign.
If you can help please contact Mr Trevor Ogden: [email protected]

A Norfolk town’s heritage trust is looking for space to store some of their larger items - including the town’s original 1954 sign. “We’re full up, so we...

Our next online talk is now available please see the details of how to attend on the poster below
16/01/2021

Our next online talk is now available please see the details of how to attend on the poster below

Today is Plough Monday the first Monday after Epiphany. The traditional start of the agricultural year. Customs included...
11/01/2021
Hockham Plough Monday

Today is Plough Monday the first Monday after Epiphany. The traditional start of the agricultural year. Customs included the blessing of the plough followed by ploughmen parading the plough and dancing for food and money. The traditional is still kept alive in Norfolk but not this year so here is a video from 2011 filmed at Great Hockham in Norfolk.

https://youtu.be/eiURwNXNRsU

24/12/2020

Christmas Day 1796. Parson James Woodforde, Rector of Weston Longville, writes his diary.
"This Day the coldest we have had yet and Frost more severe. It froze all the Day long and within Doors, the last Night intensely cold. Mr Corbould [Woodforde’s curate] read Prayers & administered the H Sacrament this Morning at Weston Church. He called on us as he went and also on his return from Church. He said the cold at Church was so great as to make him tremble again. We did not go, the Weather being so severe. This being Christmas Day, the following People had their dinner at my House, Widow Case, old Thos. Atterton, Christ. Dunnell, Edwd Howes, Robt Downing and my Clerk Thos. Thurston. Dinner to day, Surloin of Beef rosted, plumb Puddings and mince Pies. My Appetite this cold Weather very bad. The Cold pierces me thro’ almost on going to bed, cannot get to sleep for a long time. We however do not have our beds warmed. Gave the People that dined here to day before they went, to each of them 1 Shilling… After they had dined they had some strong Beer."
From James Beresford (Ed), "The Diary of a Country Parson 1758-1802" (OUP, 1935).

Merry Christmas from all at the Dereham Heritage Trust and Bishop Bonner’s Cottage Museum. www.derehamhistory.com
24/12/2020

Merry Christmas from all at the Dereham Heritage Trust and Bishop Bonner’s Cottage Museum. www.derehamhistory.com

Garden FindsWhat have you found in your garden? I dug this up in my veg patch in Scarning this summer it looks like a ki...
22/12/2020

Garden Finds
What have you found in your garden?

I dug this up in my veg patch in Scarning this summer it looks like a kind of Tractor painted an army green. On the bottom is says LESNEY ENGLAND on Wikipedia it says - ‘Lesney Products & Co. Ltd. was a British manufacturing company responsible for the conception, manufacture, and distribution of die-cast toys under the "Matchbox" name. The company existed from 1947 until 1982.’
This model was made between 1955 and 1958 so it could have been in the garden for 65 years.

What have you found in your garden? Post a picture below to share with the group.

Sue Walker

Watch our new video talk on 'Maud’s Story – the life of a Norfolk Trading Wherry' then join our live question time with ...
14/12/2020

Watch our new video talk on 'Maud’s Story – the life of a Norfolk Trading Wherry' then join our live question time with her on Wednesday 13 January 2021 - more details on the poster below

View through a Victorian kaleidoscope in the collection of Dereham Heritage Trust. Little fragments of coloured glass an...
12/12/2020

View through a Victorian kaleidoscope in the collection of Dereham Heritage Trust. Little fragments of coloured glass and three mirrors work the magic

Dereham History & Bishop Bonner's Cottage Museum's cover photo
08/12/2020

Dereham History & Bishop Bonner's Cottage Museum's cover photo

Today's Eastern Daily Press has five pages on architect George Skipper and his work, and an interview with Richard Barne...
21/11/2020

Today's Eastern Daily Press has five pages on architect George Skipper and his work, and an interview with Richard Barnes, who has just published a book about him. Richard is giving our February talk about Skipper, who was born in Dereham and whose father was a builder here. Incidentally, "Skipper" is one of 12 names identified as having higher concentration in the Dereham area in the 1881 census than anywhere else in the country. This is featured in our December talk on surname mapping - see the separate post.

Our next Dereham Heritage Trust talk is available now, members will get the link in their newsletter in the next few day...
11/11/2020

Our next Dereham Heritage Trust talk is available now, members will get the link in their newsletter in the next few days. If you are not a member see the poster below for details of how to view it.

Remembrance Sunday 2020 - we will remember them
08/11/2020

Remembrance Sunday 2020 - we will remember them

The helmet was on display as part of our exhibition on the history of Hobbies of Dereham, as we have photographs of the ...
03/11/2020

The helmet was on display as part of our exhibition on the history of Hobbies of Dereham, as we have photographs of the fire in their factory in 1907 and later in 1915, showing firemen on the scene damping the fire down in 1907.

Fire helmet belonging to Captain Pett who served with the Dereham Fire Brigade. Captain Pett was a member from 1934 to 1959. His helmet and axe is on display at the Dereham Musuen inside Bishop Bonners Cottage in the town

Norfolk Fire Museum
03/11/2020

Norfolk Fire Museum

Fire at Dereham Maltings 7th December 1974. Shown is the museum’s turntable ladder at work. This is the first photo that we have seen showing the TL’s fwp in use.

Norfolk Fire Museum
03/11/2020

Norfolk Fire Museum

Stammers Flour Mill East Dereham after a large fire at the premise

For the rest of 2020, and probably to at least April 2021, we are arranging on-line talks for our members and visitors. ...
28/10/2020

For the rest of 2020, and probably to at least April 2021, we are arranging on-line talks for our members and visitors. The next talk on 'Dereham and its Vicar in Victorian Times' by Susanna Wade Martins is ready to view now, click on the poster below for details.

14/10/2020
St. Nicholas Church, Dereham

St. Nicholas Church, Dereham

William Cowper, poet, is buried in St Nicholas’ church (1800).His monument is in the north transept. He was encouraged by John Newton (writer of Amazing grace) to write anti-slave poetry.

THE NEGRO'S COMPLAINT
by William Cowper
FORCED from home and all its pleasures
Afric's coast I left forlorn,
To increase a stranger's treasures
O'er the raging billows borne.
Men from England bought and sold me,
Paid my price in paltry gold;
But, though slave they have enrolled me,
Minds are never to be sold.

Still in thought as free as ever,
What are England's rights, I ask,
Me from my delights to sever,
Me to torture, me to task ?
Fleecy locks and black complexion
Cannot forfeit nature's claim;
Skins may differ, but affection
Dwells in white and black the same.

Why did all-creating nature
Make the plant for which we toil?
Sighs must fan it, tears must water,
Sweat of ours must dress the soil.
Think, ye masters iron-hearted,
Lolling at your jovial boards,
Think how many backs have smarted
For the sweets your cane affords.

Is there, as ye sometimes tell us,
Is there One who reigns on high?
Has He bid you buy and sell us,
Speaking from his throne, the sky?
Ask him, if your knotted scourges,
Matches, blood-extorting screws,
Are the means that duty urges
Agents of his will to use?

Hark! He answers!--Wild tornadoes
Strewing yonder sea with wrecks,
Wasting towns, plantations, meadows,
Are the voice with which he speaks.
He, foreseeing what vexations
Afric's sons should undergo,
Fixed their tyrants' habitations
Where his whirlwinds answer--"No."

By our blood in Afric wasted
Ere our necks received the chain;
By the miseries that we tasted,
Crossing in your barks the main;
By our sufferings, since ye brought us
To the man-degrading mart,
All sustained by patience, taught us
Only by a broken heart;

Deem our nation brutes no longer,
Till some reason ye shall find
Worthier of regard and stronger
Than the colour of our kind.
Slaves of gold, whose sordid dealings
Tarnish all your boasted powers,
Prove that you have human feelings,
Ere you proudly question ours!

For Black History Month we have an article written by Trevor Ogden for Dereham Heritage Trust Newsletter a few months ag...
02/10/2020
The Black Lady of North Elmham

For Black History Month we have an article written by Trevor Ogden for Dereham Heritage Trust Newsletter a few months ago about black woman whose skeleton was found in the 10th century cathedral cemetery at North Elmham, mid-Norfolk, in Peter Wade-Martin's excavations in the 1970s. What was her story, and how might she have come to Norfolk so long ago. http://www.derehamhistory.com/black-history-month.html

The Black Lady of North Elmham

Another excellent photo of Etling Green folk in the mid C20.  This is Susanna Brunton (nee Lock) drawing water at an Etl...
22/07/2020

Another excellent photo of Etling Green folk in the mid C20. This is Susanna Brunton (nee Lock) drawing water at an Etling Green pump. A lovely picture shared with us by Anthony Nesbitt, her grandson. We always welcome the temporary loan of any of your precious photographs that tell the story of Dereham and surrounds. We always scan and return items very quickly and if you wish to donate any photos to us they will be kept for posterity in our museum archive and used in appropriate displays and exhibitions.

We pass our grateful thanks to Anthony Nesbitt for sharing his childhood memories of Etling Green.  This shows Anthony's...
21/07/2020

We pass our grateful thanks to Anthony Nesbitt for sharing his childhood memories of Etling Green. This shows Anthony's mother Florence Nesbitt (nee Brunton) along with Alan, Stephanice and David Myhill. Can anyone name the child for us please?

Address

Bishop Bonner's Cottage Museum, St Withburga Lane
Dereham
NR19 1ED

Opening Hours

Wednesday 13:30 - 16:00
Friday 11:00 - 14:00
Saturday 13:30 - 16:00

Telephone

01362695652

Products

Museum Opening Times and Admission Fees 2016

Opening Times from 4th May to 28th September
Wed & Sat - 1.30pm - 4.00pm
Friday - 11pm - 2pm

Entrance Fees 2019
Adult £2
Child up to 16 Free with Adult

Disabled access
The nature of this old building, with its winding, narrow and steep staircases and uneven floors make access to the first floor difficult.

Please come and join us, membership of the Society is open to all.
Newsletters, monthly talks and summer visits to sites of interest.
Membership Fees
£12 per annum for an individual, £22 for a couple living at the same address

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Our Story

From academic beginnings in 1953, the Dereham Heritage Trust, formerly the Dereham Antiquarian Society, is a friendly group of people who have a shared interest in the history of Dereham and the surrounding area. Society members act as volunteer stewards in the Museum and manage the new town archive centre. Registered Educational Charity (No.293648) The Trust incorporates the Cowper Society of Dereham. There is traditionally a William Cowper evening, around the anniversary of the poet’s death on 25th April 1800. The Arcadian Club, which studies the life and works of the local antiquarian Dr Augustus Jessopp, has also been incorporated into the Dereham Heritage Trust. Find out more on our website www.derehamhistory.com

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Comments

An image I took last Sunday :)
Hoping there shall be no objection to sharing this here, and putting the word out: #NIAS shall be hosting the East of England Regional Industrial Archaeological Conference, this year in Thetford. There shall be a visit to the Charles Burrell Museum (of Traction Engine fame) with talks in the morning on Thetford pulpware products from paper and jute, and on the firm of Burrell's itself. In the afternoon, there shall be a guided walk around the town centre of Thetford, ending with the Museum visit. Booking has passed but the event is still open. Please share. Message from the organisers: if you have not already booked in advance, then you are welcome to come along and pay at the door on the day. Cost £14 per person. If you have an interest in Industrial Archaeology and would like to join NIAS, members will be on hand to advise. Or, visit the NIAS website: www.norfolkia.org.uk
Having just started a new business to promote the area around Dereham, Attleborough, Thetford, Watton, Swaffham, Brandon, etc, I welcome all businesses in the area to join us. Primarily aimed at people visiting the area, I also want everyone to realise that someone visiting Attleborough from Swaffham is a visitor as well. I may well live near Dereham, but Thetford is a great place for me to visit as it has great museums, ruins, the biggest Motte in the country and an amazing forest nearby. If I'm looking for a proper greengrocer and florist, there's Starlings in Swaffham and, if I want a real book shop, there's Ceres in Swaffham too. Drop us an email for more information: [email protected] and Check out
It's all about Norfolk at our Quiz Night :-) and there are still a few spaces left!!! To book a table please give us a call Dereham Library 01362 693184 👍